The Apprentice Diaries #6

It happened within a week or so. At the end of six-odd days of cheerily talking to everyone at the cafe, serving up sandwiches, soup, salad and more, it hit me. I had officially seen a side of Panjim I have never encountered in the three years that I have lived here.  In fact, I am quite certain that in the last three weeks, I have seen more tight-assed, fancy, Panjim socialites than I have in the last three years.

I had my Lost! moment. Where am I? And more importantly, who are these people, and where have they been for the last three years?

It was then that I had a half-resigned, half-depressed quiet moment with myself, weighed down by the realisation that for all its faux-fancy-pantsiness, the cafe I work in is pretty much an adda. Yes, it has a fancy-ish, Spanish name with a lazy lilt to it, but there’s really no escaping the fact that what it is, is an adda, which, according to my trusted slang dictionary, Samosapedia, is:

A common place where close friends hangout. Its usually close to the college they attend and generally convenient for the rest of the boys to get there. Its usually a bakery, Coffee Day, restaurant or small shops run by frustrated people or nice people.

Have you ever had an adda? I did, some years ago. When I was broke, had no real pocket money to speak of, but had vast amounts of time to waste and nowhere special to be. At times like that an adda is perfect. Because it welcomes you any time of any day. No matter what you’re in the mood for or what you plan to do. Even if you plan to do nothing, your adda is usually the best place to go. When you’re feeling mindless, need a quiet corner in which to sulk, throw a tantrum with a boy, or generally be boisterous with others in your clique. Its where you can huddle around a small table, drag one too many chairs along and create a crowd that nobody can get past. And you know what was the best part? You don’t have to care.

Your adda accepts you just the way you are. And that is exactly how the cafe accepts this new strata of society I have suddenly been exposed to.

With their almost-Birkins, their flowy patterned dresses, their expensive Hercules sandals and what not. Don’t even get me started on the men and their moccasins with tassles. Yes, I’m aware this is becoming a superficial statement on their attire and appearances, but after 3 weeks of seeing the same bunch of faces hanging out with the same bunch of faces every day of the week, in the same place, spending vast amounts of money on overpriced brunch stuff, I am tempted to believe that like me, back in college, maybe some of these folks have no place special to be, nothing of consequence to do, and nothing compelling to really do with themselves.

I guess I am nobody to judge what they do with their time and money. But it made me wonder, if I could go back to my adda days, today, would I choose to hob-nob with the same faces? Everyday? Dress up and pretty my face up for lunch, Every.Single.Day?

I’m really not sure. So yes, the cafe. Is an adda. And while I make sense of the intricacies of the relationships and equations in this new sect of society I suddenly find myself having to air-kiss and polite-talk with, I will continue to tag them as WhiteGrumpyMan and PregnantWoman and WomanWithTooMuchMakeUp and EverydayCouple and RichBrattyGirl in my little book of orders. Because that’s the only way I can tell one from the other.

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9 Replies to “The Apprentice Diaries #6”

    1. And maybe you just have too much stuff on hand to have spare time to go put adda! I hate to be judgemental, but I am quite baffled by how working men find their way to the adda for 3-4 hours every afternoon. Its super odd when you realise its not just a one off happening. This is EVERYDAY!

  1. The “adda” is also very quintessentially a Bengali thing. For us it’s more of a concept than a place really. So it can be anywhere- a roadside tea stall, a bus, a friends home- anywhere. While in sanitized environments like a friend’s home you are generally doing “adda” with known people, common spaces like a bus or a tea stall or even an auto can strike up an “adda” on a longish ride between complete strangers where conversations can range from Sourav Ganguly to politics to football to the weather to just about anything. Bengalis cannot do without their dose of adda at all. It is a pre-requisite to living

  2. I have an adda too, My friend’s home. They have the biggest home and are centrally located, so everyone winds up there. I think it’s nice to have a place you can come to and talk to your friends and just chill. I’m just getting over the afterglow of a superb weekend, so please excuse the happy-glow over everything! I’m sure I’ll hate the adda- people tomorrow. :P

  3. My friends and I used to have a regular adda in college. I miss those times…when meeting friends and spending time with them didn’t require planning and coordination. It’s just what you did, every day

    1. Hehehe, precisely my point :D at some point i think we, well not outgrow, but we stop doing it as much because other things in life take precedence. Work, life, money, responsibility..

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